Washington DC to make good on 6-year-old promise to revitalize neighborhood

Missing out on the boom that has transformed other once-rundown parts of the city, the struggling Kennedy Street corridor in Northwest Washington, DC could finally see economic development after eight years of waiting for the city government to move on a plan to revitalize the area.

The DC City Council is moving on a bill that would create the Kennedy Street Economic Development and Small Business Revitalization Advisory Committee — a body made up of business owners, residents and government representatives charged with finally acting on recommendations in the neighborhood’s six-year-old Small Area Plan (SAP).

Kennedy Street NW is a low-rise, mixed-use corridor in uptown NW DC. It runs across several neighborhoods east to west. Kennedy runs about nine blocks between North Capitol Street and Georgia Avenue, another three to 16th Street NW and Rock Creek Park. The buildings are a mix of 1920’s row houses, interspersed with more modern commercial, apartment, and condominium buildings between one and five stories. While residential property around it rises in price at a staggering pace, there are still many underused and available commercial properties available for new entrepreneurs, and residents are seeking things that are not available here now.

The Kennedy Street Development Association (KSDA), is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit initiative of current and prospective business owners and residents with an interest in the development of small, locally-owned businesses. Its mission is to promote a vibrant, diverse business environment on Kennedy Street, which will provide a range of goods and services to meet the needs of nearby residents. Its vision is for a safe, walkable Kennedy Street that serves its current residents as a strong commercial corridor, while paying tribute to the history and diversity of the surrounding neighborhoods.

To date, of the 22 recommendations in this council-approved plan, only five have been fully implemented and three of those by our volunteer initiatives,” said Tiffani Nichole Johnson, a member of the Kennedy Street Development Corporation, which is a resident-run nonprofit that has been trying to enhance economic development in the neighborhood.

Ms. Johnson said even the easier parts of the revitalization plan recommendations — improving the visual appeal of the corridor, removing excess utility poles and wires, and widening sidewalks — have been left undone.

See full Washington Times article by Ryan M. McDermott.

See Kennedy St. Facebook page.

See Kennedy St. Development Assoc. website & photo credit.

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